Bristol beat Stade Francais to seal last-16 spot
MATCH REPORT: Bristol Bears overcame Stade Français Paris 28-17 in a breathless Champions Cup contest at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
The Premiership side’s bonus point win saw them book a place in the Round of 16 and ended a two-game losing streak at home in the European Cup.
Bristol were excellent in the first half of the Pool B encounter, crossing for tries through Henry Purdy and Piers O’Conor as they showcased some of their best attacking rugby.
But a lack of concentration cost them on the stroke of half time, as Stade Français centre Leo Barre was allowed to nip in under the posts.
The TOP 14 side’s flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez struck first at the start of the second half, nudging a penalty to reduce the deficit to four points.
But Bears would extend their advantage on 49 minutes as the excellent Harry Randall crossed, before O’Conor’s second just before the hour mark secured the bonus point.
Stade Français replacement Antoine Burban made a powerful dive over the line to close the gap with 15 minutes to go, but Bristol ultimately held on to claim a crucial win.
Bears visit Scarlets in Round 4 next weekend while Stade Français are at home against Connacht Rugby.
For Bristol Bears:
Tries: Purdy, O’Conor 2, Randall;
Cons: Sheedy 4
For Stade Francais:
Tries: Barre, Burban;
Cons: Sanchez 2
Bristol Bears: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Ioan Lloyd, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Fitz Harding, 7 Daniel Thomas, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce (captain), 4 John Hawkins, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Will Capon, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Antoine Frisch, 23 Jack Bates
Stade Francais: 15 Kylan Hamdaoui, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Ngani Laumape, 12 Léo Barre, 11 Paul Champ, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Arthur Coville, 8 Tala Gray (captain), 7 Romain Briatte, 6 Charlie Francoz, 5 JJ van der Mescht, 4 Pierre-Henri Azagoh, 3 Nemo Roelofse, 2 Lucas Da Silva, 1 Quentin Bethune
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Moses Alo Emile, 18 Vasil Kakovin, 19 Antoine Burban, 20 Mathieu De Giovanni, 21 William Percillier, 22 Alex Arrate, 23 Marcos Kremer
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Eoghan Cross (Ireland), Oisin Quinn (Ireland)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)